Blog Post

Feb 28 | Brian Heuring

Spotting the Signs Your Dog is Aging

To be completely honest, I never saw myself owning a small dog. You see, I grew up raising 1000-pound Belgian draft horses, and my family cared for barn cats and large-breed dogs, all who lived outside on our horse farm. So, the day I brought home beautiful Trixie, a small Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, I never imagined she would quickly become my faithful companion or that she would sleep on my bed! 

Many of you might remember Trixie working with me at the vet clinic. That little brown and white spotted dog never missed a day, from the moment she was a puppy until the very day she died on my table, as my associate and I tried one last time to resuscitate her failing heart. The ten years my family and I had with Trixie were filled with absolute joy. I believe having her as a pet made me a better veterinarian. 

At Bootheel Animal Clinic, we strongly feel age is not a disease. To make it more manageable and for your pet to be happier, pay close attention to these behaviors: drinking, appetite, bathroom habits, sleeping patterns, coughing or respiratory changes, and skin/coat condition. Scheduling routine wellness visits and regular dental cleanings is vital. We highly recommend routine lab work and even x-rays. This helps establish a baseline for us to compare, in case the day arrives when your pet is in more serious health. 

November is Senior Pet Month at our clinic. Typically, when a dog reaches seven years old, they are considered to be aging. Many small breed dogs, like my Trixie, live between 10 and 15 years. Meantime, cats are considered to be elderly at 11 years.

Together as pet owners and veterinarians, we can help ensure your pet’s golden years are their best years. After all, caring for Trixie in that stage of her life was the least we could do for all the unconditional love she gave to my family over her years. (By the way, we have since gotten another Cavalier, yet Trixie remains forever in our hearts.)